Remember, folks: reviewing is like saying thank-you - it's not required, but it puts a smile on everyone's faces. And no, this isn't Probama propaganda. A person can say the word "change" without it automatically referring to an American President-Elect. ^___^
It was because it was unprecedented that it frightened them.
They had already seen the world turn and change, and for the most part they had minded their own business. It wasn't the job of the anthropologist to change anything. So, polite as ever, they had maintained their quiet watchfulness, adapting as the world around them grew up and began to toddle its first brave steps. They had watched it through adolescence, through its first mistakes and first great achievements. They had seen the greatest tragedies, the days when fire and tears devolved into synonyms, but as selfish as it may seem as long as the woods and the forests and the oceans and deserts remained unharmed, they knew they would be okay.
Their memory wasn't flawless but the stories passed down were coherent enough to be retold, and although each version was different in its own way they all had the same moral and meaning, and that sufficed. So, innately, privately, so-obvious-you-don't-have-to-even-ask, they had a kind of sense of when something was about to occur. It wasn't in the air or leaves or even the newspapers (what, were they supposed to read that?) that tipped them off. They weren't psychic or suddenly developing a la Alice Cullen premonitions - that would be silly. Rather it was coded in as deep as migration, hibernation or metamorphosis, just as the arctic wolf's fur turns snowy come winter.
It was only once every blue moon (or maybe every fifth, or ninth, or three-thousand-and-twenty-third) that there would be a species that attempted that strange doing: change. By definition each animal is a creature of habit, the traditions of ancients embedded so deeply that even the thought of newness is something to be scorned, or at the very least looked down upon.
But it was only the race of humans that desired, needed, change so forcefully that they'd destroy their own to get just that. Restless they were, always craving something more, something bigger, something better. They needed change like a serpent needs fear.
Which was fine. To each his own, and all that. The mouse might not agree with the alley cat's need to kill her, but it isn't as if she's about to start a petition against it. That's just the way of the world. Survival of the fittest, survival of the smartest. The animals tipped their hats, bade a cheery good luck and happily returned to their scampering and chasing and killing exploits of life of death. As long as the humans didn't attempt that - didn't try to overturn the most vital, simplest of cycles - they were all in agreement. Amen!
What none of them had ever expected was how crashingly loud the humans would make that concept of change.
An argument was one thing - a war was another. Silent as ever, they had seen the world unfold into burnt, grey tatters, left to blow dully in the wind. This new race brought more change than they would ever let on.
So it was strange, very strange, the way they continued to ignore it, continuing, steadfast, to their well-loved trivialities. Only when it all turned truly hellish (a human concept, but there you go) did it ever occur to them to change their ways, or unless there would be some benefit to go along with this new development. The animals, of course, always operated the same, but then again they weren't the ones to have mucked everything up in the first place, anyway.
They had methods the animals didn't - television, newspapers, radio, Internet, cell phones and Twitter - and yet they remained in their bubble-wrapped existence, beaming with obliviousness. Their laughter reverberated into the clear blue day like a Christmas carol at a funeral.
The sun was still high in the sky, golden locks splayed wildly over the scene: a girl of fifteen chasing after her cousin, screaming with laughter. He's shorter than she is but his legs are quicker, and together they steal into the barn, shutting the door behind them with a loud whump. Far to the right, farther than the duo could see, there's a small girl sitting on a big speckled rock, her face one of deepest confusion. The book in her lap (it's red and embossed with something like silver) is opened.
From the big house, there's a loud commotion of sorts, and then a boy in his early teens runs out, eyes wild. His face and hair is neater than his brother's (which isn't saying much), but his clothes tell a different story. They're an ensemble of leather and denim, a distinct sort of ruggedness the make-up artists in westerns try so hard for. His sneakers are worn and muddy, the soles flapping apart as he walks down the field.
Through the second-story window, the TV is playing too loud, newsmen arguing. Someone, his voice a baritone, gives the loudest whoop, clapping his meaty hands together. The boy keeps on walking.
He stops at the oak tree. His voice is as soft as satin, like a long, slender cat you can't help but pet till you find out it doesn't like humans so much.
"Something's coming, isn't it?" Isaac mumurs.
The sparrows twitter.